Palm Beach State's Adong Makuoi took one commanding dribble, found an opening and crunched home a thunderous, two-handed sledgehammer of a dunk.
This boisterous play, which occurred during the JUCO All-American Jamboree last month in Apopka, Fla., was demonstrative of the behemoth five-man's sheer power. This old school center caliber of ferocity is about as common as snow in Orlando, given today's game.
The 6-foot-9 Makuoi, he of the MMA fighter build, followed this up with a sound defensive performance during the HoopMIA JUCO Cookout at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens during the pre-season.
"He's a big time athlete who can really finish above the rim and he's shown an improved jump shot," said Palm Beach State head coach Martin McCann of Makuoi, one of nine freshmen in the 2018-19 youth movement at Lake Worth, Fla.
"He's been able to pop out and hit the jumper with consistency as an added element of his game. He's come a long way there. He's got a lot of potential. Massive hands."
While Makuoi's presence has been cloaked in secrecy on the Division-I recruiting market, his recent eye-widening play is noteworthy. You can't ignore the enticing qualities with his work ethic, steadily evolving skill set and that aforementioned man-child frame of his. McCann ultimately envisions an emergence into a top-shelf frontcourt JUCO prospects in the 2020 class.
"In terms of day to day stuff, he's a very detailed kid," explained McCann.
"He has a commitment to his skill development. He's really putting in the hours on the gun, to get those reps in. He's comfortable. He's definitely an everyday guy. I think he's a high major guy. He's a kid who took his time and made a quality decision in the JUCO recruiting process in terms of ending up here. He's going to definitely to take his time and make an educated decision as to where he winds up next."
During a 92-81 victory over Pensacola State College, Makuoi submitted 12 points, six boards, and five blocks.
Prior to that, during a 102-84 trouncing at the hands of No.1 Northwest Florida, Makuoi scored 12 points (6-for-8 FG) and yanked in five boards. With his 7-foot-4 wingspan and day to day improvement with sufficient rim protection, the upside is certainly visible. Makuoi, who played at The Rise Centre Academy, registered in the Top-5 in the EYBL in blocked shots.
He's averaging 9.8 points and 4.8 boards through a 3-2 start, albeit he's shooting a scintillating 71 percent from the field.
McCann stumbled upon the Canada Elite product nearly by luck of the draw.
A number of Division-I head coaches tipped off McCann to the overlooked talent. They informed him, however, that he would compete against numerous Division-I programs persuading him to become an academic redshirt.
A few Division-I programs wanted to accelerate the process and get him qualified and in the door instantly.
Ultimately, McCann found a niche for him as a defensive backbone. Palm Beach State ramped up its frontline with bigs such as 6-foot-9 Zach Mogbo, 6-foot-11 Marcus Hopkins, and Alex Kotov. Russian point forward David Didenko committed to Georgia Tech last month.
After initially being pigeonholed as soft, the Montverde Academy (FL) product Kotov has improved dramatically. The face-up four man has gained significant muscle to a once twig like frame.
He's proven to be an adept passer capable of kicking in that hockey assist and facilitating the breakneck attack. With his consistency in knocking back deep jumpers and three-pointers, he's suddenly starting to shed the "raw" label once attached to him.
Tag(s): FL Juco Report